Nigeria’s parliament has approved the ‘Jail All The Gays’ bill, and could be signed by President Goodluck Jonathan at any moment.
The Senate in Abuja unanimously adopted the report of its conference committee on banning gay marriage last night (18 December).
After two years, the Senate and House of Representatives have reached an agreement to the wording of the legislation of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill.
And if the bill becomes law, it will ban same-sex marriage and outlaw anyone from forming organizations supporting gay rights.
Nigerian LGBTI activists have confirmed that any gay couple who got married would be punished by up to 14 years prison. Wedding guests will also be jailed for 10 years.
Anyone who provides services to a gay person will also be imprisoned for up to five years.
LGBTI organizations will be banned, as well as any act of ‘public showing of a smae-sex relationship’.
‘This bill will go through now and it will be signed as quickly as possible,’ Senate leader David Mark said.
‘The earlier we sign it into law, the better. [Nigeria] have many shortcomings, we don’t want to add this one to it.’
The Senate in November 2011 and the House of Representatives passed the original bill, known as ‘Jail All The Gays’, on 2013.
But due to the two chambers clashing on the wording, it heavily delayed the bill.
The US and UK governments had threatened to cut aid to the African country if Nigeria went ahead with the legislation.
LGBTI rights activists in Nigeria have slammed the bill, saying it is not necessary and will only aggravate the homophobia in the country.
But there is one last chance to stop the bill; President Jonathan.
Nigerian gay rights campaigner Davis Mac-lyalla urged him to refuse to sign the ‘Jail All The Gays’ bill, saying otherwise he will be known as ‘one of the worst human rights abusers in Africa’.
Speaking to Gay Star News, he said: ‘Homosexuality is already illegal, and now the Senate is trying to promote their hate and homophobia.
‘There’s no need for this bill. No one in Nigeria has asked for marriage. This bill is just to please the religious leaders.’
Mac-lyalla said Nigeria is emulating India and Russia by choosing to move backwards. But unlike those countries, Nigeria is already one of the worst places in the world to be gay.
‘Once you begin to talk about LGBT issues openly, you can be attacked, lynched, murdered,’ he said.
‘The government is aiming to crush any form of resistance to this, they are terrorizing same-sex couples with their laws.
‘I see a great future, but only if we continue to speak and draw the attention of the international community.
‘We need to keep fighting and keep challenging these leaders. Silence is the only way they can win.’